Teaching Journal 4.27.18

# of Students Taught: 6

Ages: 1 frosh, 2 sophomores, 2 seniors, one college student

Instrument:  3 tenor trombones, 2 baritones, 1 bass bone

Materials: scales, tunes, & ear training; etudes, jury repertoire, etudes

Fundamentals covered: direction of lines and phrases, finding one’s ‘base volume’ (i.e. going for a full sound as a default, not always playing softly), energy and intention

Memorable moment: I have a newish student I really enjoy working with because he’s a cool kid, but he is a little bit on the…let’s say… lazy side. I think he hasn’t quite figured out where his attention should be in any given point in life, and on trombone his default volume is what my high school band director would call ‘mezzo nothing’. It’s too quiet, and while there’s a good sound under there, it has no energy to it. Today we worked on finding a default volume that was fuller and louder. I told him to match what I did, exactly, including the volume and quality of sound, and he did it, handily. I asked him if he had expended much more effort to create a bigger sound and he said no, not really.

Takeaways: Oftentimes I think weaker sound is not a product of not enough air, but not enough energy on the air. I encourage my students not to try harder or blow more, but visualize bigger, match what they hear. I think it works better in the long run then teaching them that loud = effort.

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